Monday, November 23, 2015


About a year ago, Justin and I stumbled on Glow in the Woods.  It's a site for the "baby lost," full of discussion boards, blog rolls, advice such as how to stop lactation when there is no baby and how to plan a baby's funeral, and most importantly, regular contributors who write pieces.

Today, Justin becomes one of those regular contributors. 

I'm so proud that he has found his words.  

And I'm so proud that in this community where grieving fathers are often marginalized, my husband is one of the few men who has learned how to share his journey.  

I'm proud of you, Justin.  And I know Lydie is too.

You can read Justin's most recent piece, about searching for hope despite smashing eggs, here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Crossroads (On old friendships)

Now that the anxiety of Bowie's pregnancy is behind me and I've settled into somewhat of a rhythm as the mom of two living and one dead children, I'm starting to realize how many people I have cut out of my life in the past year.

Friends who had living babies.  Friends who said the wrong thing.  Friends who weren't particularly sensitive when announcing their pregnancies.

And friends who said nothing at all.

In most of these situations, it wasn't with intentionality that I cut out these friends.  I didn't set out to no longer have these people in my life.  It just kind of happened.  I was operating in survival mode for a long, long time.  A lot of that meant protecting myself from friends who had normal, seemingly carefree lives. Or friends who didn't think they had carefree lives, but compared to the death of a child, really seemed like it to me.

Some of these friends have reached out to me since Josephine's birth.  In some ways, that frustrates me.  You can't go radio silent during the hardest year of my life and then expect to come back in when a little bit of joy comes back into my life.  It also gives me the impression that these friends think I'm better now.

(And to clarify: I am better now that the most harrowing nine months of my life are behind me, now that Josephine is hiccuping in the swing next to me.  I am not, however, better in the way that Josephine fixes the loss of Lydia.  In many ways, the safe arrival of Josephine has made my grief even more acute.)

In other ways, I'm wondering if I should grab the chance of connection while I can.

I know it's not my friends' fault that all their children are here and healthy anymore than it's my fault that one of mine died.  I know I can't expect my friends to change their family planning based on my tragedy.  I even know that my friends were trying to help when they said hurtful things.  I know I can't always expect others' to predict what might be triggers for me.

I'm finding that I'm more willing to forgive the friends who said the wrong thing than I am willing to forgive the friends that said nothing at all.

Couldn't have described it better myself.  Thanks Buzzfeed.


There's a few old good friends that have done exactly this.  They have sent cards and flowers and gifts in the days following my daughter's death.  When I was still in shock and numb and unable to leave my home.  They told me to call if I wanted to talk.

(Apparently, they did not recognize that one way my grief manifested itself was by being absolutely physically unable to talk on the telephone.)

And I have not heard from them since.

This shocks me.

A year later, some of them have reached out to offer their congratulations on Josephine's arrival.

So what now?  Where do we stand?  Do I let them go, know that if they couldn't stand with me in my hard days then I am better off without them?  Or do I recognize that sometimes people can't give you what you need, and I try to forgive them?

Case in point:


We became friends in January of 2004.  After living and working together at a YMCA for months, we road-tripped from Colorado to Ohio, then flew to Hawaii to vacation and visit a Marine with whom I had an on-again off-again thing with for far too long.  It didn't last with the Marine, thank goodness, but I thought it did with Martha.  Four years later, hoping to heal my heart after a break up with another not-the-right-man, I jumped on a plane to Australia, and Martha and I had adventure after adventure.

I thought we would have seen each other again by now, 8 years later.  But it turns out Australia is a long way away when you have a full-time job and a husband and a mortgage and children.

Martha emailed right away after Lydie's death.  She told me she had no idea what it was like to lose a child.  But that she did know me and she did know how strong I am.  I cried.  (But I cried all day long back then).

She sent Christmas presents, and in response, I emailed her a photo of Ben unwrapping his book (about a wombat!) and a photo of her ornament hanging on Lydie's tree.

And since then, radio silence.

If she read this blog, she didn't let me know.  She liked some things on Facebook and Instagram but never commented.  In June, I emailed her and never heard back.

I wondered if she even knew I was pregnant with Bowie.

In the middle of the night recently, I thought about Martha.  I thought about how easy it would be to say, fuck it.

But instead, I tapped the button on my phone, opened up a new email, typed the subject line, "calling you out," and told her how I felt.  I told her that I've been shocked that when I needed support the most, she seems to have run in the opposite direction.  I told her that I never wanted extravagance.  I just wanted her to check on me.  I needed to feel like she cared, and I haven't felt that way.  That I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by writing that email but I'm doing it anyway.  And then I hit send.

She wrote back immediately.  And here was her response:
I am so sorry you feel this way, I feel horrible that I have let you down as a friend, that was the furthest thing from what I wanted to do.
I know I am possibly the shittiest person in the world at communicating, and I will really try and work on that more. I think about you so often you can't even imagine. I have literally NO idea what you must've been going through in the last 12 months, and I guess I've been so afraid to say the wrong I've done the wrong thing & not said much at all. I feel from your posts etc that you were getting heaps of help from support groups & other mothers who had had stillborn babies (see I don't even know if that is the right say to put it??) that they obviously know what you are going through & know what to say and not to say that I feel like I wouldn't be of much help - and again please don't think I've been running in the opposite direction ...maybe I've just stepped to the side onto the pavement a little and let some expert angels swoop in and be the #1 team there for a while...but I'm definitely keeping an eye on what's going on from the sidewalk.  I've never left the sidewalk Heather.  I tried to read your blog but cried so much after the first few I could barely function...

I like the sidewalk analogy.

I don't know how to respond about this blog being too difficult to read.  Martha's not the first friend to say this to me.  And if it's too difficult to read, then imagine how difficult it must be to be the one living it.  (And so, I must say, if you're one of those people, I'd like you to try to find approximately 7 minutes a week to abide with me here).

Martha and I have always had an honest relationship and I'm glad I could be honest with her now.

Because I don't want to say fuck it.

I'm beginning to realize that I need my old friends.  Even though my fellow baby loss moms have been my lifelines, I don't want my only remaining friends to be the ones I met when I was 33 and my daughter died.  I would like to hang on to a few of the old ones too.

I'm beginning to realize that they didn't mean to cause me more pain.

I'm at a crossroads, and for the first time in a year, I'm going to try to make some effort to repair the friendships* I think might be worth saving.

* And yes, this goes for cousinships too.


And on a separate note, if you're wondering what these friends should have done, I would tell you it would involve checking in regularly and often, even when I don't respond.  It would be remembering certain milestones and dates as well as recognizing that certain days like Mother's Day and my own birthday were particularly difficult for me.  It would be continuing to ask about my grief as the months went on.  It would be bringing up Lydie and how much she is loved and missed.  It would be asking about her garden or tree.  It would be restraining from the platitudes and never beginning sentences with "at least..."  It would be just abiding with me, that trite old expression of "being there," without expecting much in return.

"Empathy is feeling with people." -- watch more here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Just when I let my guard down.

The other day, I took my kids to the library.  Getting out of the house is quite a feat these days, but I find Ben is better behaved outside of the house, and once we're there, it becomes worth it.

Let me preface this by stating I couldn't take Ben to story hour for a long, long time after Lydie's death.  I couldn't bear to sit next to normal moms, I couldn't stand all the happy families, I was afraid of seeing babies and siblings with the same age gap as Ben and Lydie.

I managed to take Ben a couple times over the summer, but it was hard on me.

Now on maternity leave, I've been trying again.

Ben clapped his hands and danced and sang, listened intently to stories, and counted to ten during story hour.  I held Josephine, and he'd glance back at us, grinning every so often.  Afterwards, he sat at a table with other kids, coloring, while I sat in the corner, with my nursing cover and my baby underneath.

And I felt like I was handling this two living, one dead kid thing.

Soon I told Benjamin it was time to go, but he noticed a new story hour beginning and begged to stay.  I explained to him that was for younger kids, and he begged anyway.

What the hell? I thought, thinking of how it bought me another 30 minutes of an entertained toddler.  We joined the masses of moms and kids, and sat about as far away from the exit as possible.

Ben sat Indian style (yeah, yeah, I know that's no longer PC) in front of me and I held Josephine in my arms.  The librarian asked me about my "new one" and asked me to introduce ourselves.  So I introduced Josie and Ben introduced himself as "Benjaben" (yeah, he thinks his full name is "Benjaben."  Cute, huh?) and told her he was two and a half.  I thought the stories and music would start next, but nooooo, the librarian proceeded to ask every mom to introduce her child and share where they are developmentally... and all were around the age of one.

So here, I am, with Benjamin listening intently and for once on his best behavior, and Josephine in my arms, and tons of people in the way of the exit.  And all these other women stating things like, "This is Ella.  She turned one last week and she just started walking!" and "This is Avery.  She'll be one in two weeks and she says about five words!"

That's right, all of these babies were around Lydia's age.

And I was trapped in a room with them.

I started to panic.  I debated what to do.  I texted one of my closest BLM friends.  She said, "Just when you let your guard down, huh?"

And in the end, I did nothing.  I looked out the window, I looked at my phone, I looked anywhere but at those one-year-olds, and I am sure I looked like a very bad mother.

The introductions lasted for 15 fucking minutes.

And the final song was one I listened to when I was pregnant with Lydie, imagined singing to her, and haven't been able to listen to since the day she died.  It's a kids' song, of course, and here are the lyrics:

I'm sitting here, I'm one day old
I'm sitting here, I'm two days old
I'm sitting here, I'm three days old
I'm sitting here, I'm four days old

One day, I'll be a year
Then I'll be two 
Then three then four

But as for now, I'm sitting here
I'm five days old 
And no days more

Fuck me.

This may be quite obvious, but all I could think about is how Lydie won't be one day old.  Not two days old, not three days.  And definitely not a year, not two, not three, not four.

I could barely breathe.

As soon as I got the kids loaded in the car, and shifted into drive, I started to cry.

And after we got home and I got Ben his dinosaur chicken nuggets for lunch, I called my mom.  And cried some more.

"Did you tell them about Lydie?" she asked.

No.  No, I didn't, and I usually tell everyone about Lydia.  But I didn't drop the dead baby bomb this time.

A friend of mine recently told me how much she hates the question "How many kids do you have?"

And here's the thing: no one even asks me that question.  No one asks me that question because they see me with my two-year-old son and my newborn daughter and they make assumptions.  They assume that these are my only two children.  They would never think there's another one, a dead one in between.

I know no one at that story hour was trying to hurt me.  No one realized my pain.  No one had any clue about my dead daughter.

And what was I supposed to say?  "This is Benjamin, he's two and a half.  This is Josephine, she's a month old.  I also have another daughter, about the same age as all the other babies here, but she's in an urn on our mantle"?

What was I supposed to say?

"Why didn't you leave?  Why did you put yourself through that?" my mom asked next.

Because I pictured Ben's tantrum, or perhaps worse, his refusal.  Because I didn't want to make a scene.  Because waiting it out seemed easiest at that point.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment?

And the worst part?

This is never going to end.

Next year, two-year-olds will be a trigger to me.  In four years, the kindergarteners will kill me.  And in fifteen years, it will be sixteen-year-olds.

I'll be doing this dance for the rest of my life.

But not at that story hour anymore.

My guard is back up.

* Thanks Kati, for being my support person through this nightmare... and for giving me the title of this post!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

First Birthday Recap

I could feel Lydie's birthday approaching for weeks.  No way to stop the calendar from marching forward.  The lead-in to it was so emotional.

But the day itself?  Not as bad as I thought it would be.

First, there was getting through the 5th.  As one friend called it "helliversary."  Yes.  

But -- a good friend came over, a friend who knows what it feels like to cremate your child.  Benjamin graced us with a long nap, Josephine graced us with cuddles, and the sunshine graced us with unseasonably warm weather.  Oh, and a bottle of Pinot Grigio graced us too.  We sat on my patio and talked.  I missed Lydie.  And I laughed quite a bit.

Thanks Jeanie.  
Then, the big day arrived.  We started the day with the presentation of the Cuddle Cot to St. Ann's Hospital.  I cried on the way there, listening to one of my Lydie songs, "If I Die Young" by the Band Perry.  But a "Happy birthday Lydia" cake and presents greeted us!  

Our amazing nurses, who delivered both Lydie and Josie, turned the Cuddle Cot presentation into a bit of a birthday party.  And I had told Lydie there would be no party!

Sharing a few words about stillbirth, our daughter, and the Cuddle Cot
Sixty-three friends, family members, and even complete strangers allowed us to to donate the Cuddle Cot to this hospital.  Thank you, thank you.
It felt appropriate, it felt right, to be at the place where Lydie was born.  I talked about how one year ago, I was in labor with her.  I cried when I said it is excruciatingly horrific to be in labor with a baby you know is not alive.  I spoke of our time with her, how she had big, flipper feet and a full head of her dad's hair.  I spoke of how we'll never get that time back.  Justin said how it is a testament to our nurses that we chose to return to St. Ann's for Josie's birth, how many parents would never walk through the doors of the same hospital again.  We spoke of how we wish there was never a need for Cuddle Cots, but the reality is that every 1 out of 160 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth.  And often, like in our situation, there are no risk factors and no warning signs.

Ben helps us open Lydie's birthday present
I told you these nurses are amazing.

Amanda and Beth, on the left, delivered both Lydie and Josie.  Christi, on the right, rocked and sang to Lydie as we said our goodbyes.

It was mostly a happy occasion, a reunion of sorts for all the people who met Lydia.

I wish there were more of you that met Lydia.  

A whole spread!

Add in Oma Jo, who also wanted to celebrate her granddaughter.  Plus, she loves our nurses too.

We came home, we watched the clock for 12:14 pm, and we lit our candle for Lydie.  And then we opened the many cards we had received.  

Thank you for the outpouring of love.

Soon after, I did this:

This was the point I reminded myself that I have birthed three babies. 

That's right; I got a tattoo.  If you know me, you know I'm NOT a tattoo person.  I also always thought my dad would kill me... but figured he'd let this one slide.

I began thinking about this soon after Lydia died.  A way to leave her mark physically on me.  A way to write on my body what is written in my soul. 

I decided on her name on my wrist soon after I got pregnant with Bowie... so then I waited.  I don't think they generally like to do tattoos on pregos.  Plus, you know, I had to make sure I only needed one tattoo.  

Although I felt like chickening out many times this week, I went through with it!

The result.

The tattoo artist told me tattoos are addicting, and mentioned several times my "next tattoo."  I told him unless I have another dead child, there will be no more tattoos. (Please let there be no more tattoos).

Make that $95 in alcohol, $5 in flowers.

We had left Oma Jo with a bottle of milk, Josie, and a sleeping Ben, so from there, Justin and I headed to buy balloons... and also $100 worth of alcohol.  Hard to reign it in at Trader Joe's on your dead daughter's first birthday.  I caught Justin eying these flowers, and though the man hasn't bought his wife flowers since their wedding day, I knew he was wanting to buy them for his daughter.  

We also came home to beautiful flowers from a friend.
Gorgeous.  Although Justin was not impressed at his flowers being outdone.  (Thank you Kati).
Oma Jo was debating driving home that evening or staying the night.  When she heard about the 100 bucks of alcohol, she quickly exclaimed, "I was thinking that I'll leave in the morning!"

Later, Benjamin colored a picture for his sister and Oma Jo wrote her granddaughter a note.  Justin and I had already written our letters.  We planned to tie them to the balloons... but did you know one piece of paper and some tape is enough to hold a helium balloon down?

Yeah, neither did we.
Josie holds her balloon for her big sister

Ready to send our balloons to Lydie.

A Happy Birthday balloon, a star balloon, and a 1 balloon.
So we just read our letters out loud to Lydie instead.  

"Where dat balloon going?" - Ben
"It's going to Lydie, in the stars." - Dad
"I go to Lydie too!" - Ben 

Happy birthday dear Lydie.  (And thank you Jeanie!)
I wasn't sure about doing the balloon release.  I know it's bad the environment, and I kind of like the environment.  But honestly, it was really beautiful, and it was such a nice moment for our family.

We came in, cracked open some of that alcohol, and enjoyed our evening as a family.  Uncle D showed up just in time for dinner (and the lighting of Lydie's candle) as he usually does, and after dinner, the six of us sang "Happy birthday" to Lydie.  (And I didn't even cry during that part!)

At the end of the evening, I let out some deep breaths.  The first birthday down, and it wasn't as bad as I anticipated.  For the most part, I felt like we managed to celebrate our little girl.

One year down, a lifetime to go.

We love you, Lydie.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dear Lydie, on your first birthday

Dear Lydie,

Happy first birthday, my daughter.

In so many ways, I can't believe it's been a whole year since we last held you, kissed you, studied your face.

In other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago.  I no longer recognize the woman I was before those shared moments with you.  I no longer remember what my life was like before that day.

A few days ago, your brother opened the chest in our bedroom that holds all your belongings.  I froze for a second, debating how to react.  I didn't want to give him the impression that your things were off-limits, or that he shouldn't be curious about you.  But I also didn't want him to man-handle all of our most prized possessions, all of our things that connect us to you.

I held my breath as he pulled out a photo album, sat down on the carpet, and began to flip through it.

"Mom, Dad, Oma," he began, pointing us all out in the first photo.  You laid in my arms, but he didn't mention you yet.

He turned the page.

"Dat baby has a boo-boo," he said as he looked at you.

And I crumpled.

"Why dat baby have boo-boo, Mom?" he asked.

How do I explain to your 2 1/2 year old brother what I don't understand myself?

I told him, that's Lydie, that's your sister.  She died, and we love and miss her very much.

"My Bowie right there!" he continued, pointing to your sister in her bouncy seat.  "She no get hurt!"

I pulled him on to my lap as the tears rolled down my face.

And like I always do, I wished things were different.  I wished I could have kissed all your boo-boos and made them better.  I wished I could protected you the way mothers are meant to protect their children. I wished I could have fixed this for you, for all of us.

But as much as I've wanted to turn back time, I know there's no fixing this.

There's just learning how to carry it, and how to carry you.

Later, that day, we had company. We've had a lot of visitors lately, a lot of friends and family that want to oooh and ahhh over your little sister.  These moments are hard for me.  I find myself going out of my way to include you in the conversation, to make them remember.  And I wonder, if I have to work this hard to make people acknowledge you in one year, what is it going to be like in ten?

Our guest said to your brother, "You're a big brother now!  You have a little sister!"

Of course, I hastily responded, "Well, he already was a big brother!"

But I was so proud and grateful when your brother chimed in, "I have two sisters!"  Go Ben.  Thank goodness for Ben.

I worry that I'm going to be reminding others that we're a family of five for the rest of my life.

I realize that I can't expect people to see you the way I see you.  Other people don't see the space that is so very visible to me.

Your space is so very visible to me, Lydie.  The spot you were meant to be.

I've called your sister by your name multiple times now, and had it on the tip of my tongue many other times.  Initially, it made me feel guilty.  I am adamant that Josie is not a "replacement child" because you, my dear, are not replaceable.  And then I call her by your name.

But, I realized something.  That's what parents do.  They call their kids by the wrong names.  They mix them up.  And the pets too.  Oma Jo called me Jake on a regular basis when I was a kid.  Lydia and Josephine, Josephine and Lydia.  You are sisters.  You will get mixed up, you will get called by each other's names.   There's beauty behind that.  We are a family with three children.

You're now my middle child.  The middle child just like me.  I worked to make myself visible when I was growing up, and I'll work to make you visible too.

For the past year, I've read so much about "baby loss."  I "lost" my baby, just like hundreds of people do every day.

But you'd be one today, Lydie, and now I've lost my toddler too.

I wish I was baking a cake for your first birthday.  I would be putting the final touches on your birthday decorations and hanging a banner made of all your monthly photos.  Our family would all be gathered together for the first time since your brother's first birthday, instead of the way they did at your memorial.

There may be no party today, but we're still honoring you, Lydie.  Long ago, I told you I wanted to try to let go of the anger and resentment and instead live in a way that would make you proud.  It's hard.  It's really hard, but I'm trying.

Today, we're presenting the Cuddle Cot to St. Ann's Hospital in your honor.   We're returning to the  place we last held you.  We'll be surrounded by all the other people who got to meet you.  Your dad and I will get to talk about you and celebrate you.  And in your honor, we're giving people a gift that we didn't have, more time with their precious babies.  Sixty-two of our family members and friends, and even some complete strangers, donated money to make that happen.  You're making ripples through this world, even though you're not here.

I've struggled a lot this past year, Lydie.  It's been the hardest year of my life, and sometimes, knowing that I'll be carrying this grief for the rest of my life takes my breath away.

I'm still learning how to carry the grief, and how to carry you.

After all, it's only been a year.

I hope you're with us always, the way I imagine in my optimistic moments.  I hope you are with us when we light your candle every single night, crowded around the dinner table together.  "I love you, I miss you Lydie!" your brother shouts.  Pretty soon, Josephine will learn to say it too. I hope you can feel it when we look at the stars and say goodnight to you.  And I hope you're with us all those moments in between.

I hope you've found all these beautiful babies the way I've found their beautiful mothers, and I hope they've become your closest friends the way that they've become mine.

I hope you've never doubted my love for you.  I hope the times I'm able to laugh, you know that I love you just as much as those times I can only cry.  I hope you know I hold you in my laughter just as much as I hold you in my tears.

I hope you're at peace, wherever you are.  And I hope the time goes by so very quickly until I can kiss you again.  I'm going to cover you with kisses.

I'm one year further from you, but I'm one year closer too.

We'll try to celebrate you today, Lydie, and I'll try to make your birthday as happy as it can be without you here.  After all, it was one year ago that I held you and kissed you and told you over and over again how much I love you.

And that love exists in the present tense.

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved.

On your birthday and every day.

I love you, my Lydie Girl.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November 5th

Today is November 5th.
One year since the worst day of my life.
One year ago, around 9:35 am, my life changed forever.
I had no idea how bad things really were though, at that moment.  The shock was protecting me from that.
Lydie was already dead before then, of course, but I didn't know it.
One year ago, I was living the stuff nightmares are made of.

Sometimes I wonder, one year later, how I did what I did.

I remember how my doctor was talking while looking for the baby's heartbeat.  I remember wishing she'd shut up, just until I heard it.  I remember the feeling of panic as we didn't find it.
I remember the pivotal moment of before and after where I knew, I knew, that my daughter had died.
I remember the silent Doppler.
I remember being ushered into the ultrasound room to confirm what we already knew.
I remember calling my husband, saying the words "there's no heartbeat."  I remember Dr. B taking the phone from me to talk to him some more.
I remember calling my mom, then my sister, telling them to come.  Come now.
I remember waiting while Dr. B held my hand, waiting for Justin to arrive.
I remember the tears in my doctor's eyes.  I remember her telling me it's not your fault, and I remember thinking, later, when I can comprehend this, I am going to think this is my fault.  That's why she's saying this.
I remember thinking I should be crying.  Why aren't I crying?
I remember it taking so long for Justin to arrive, but that moment he rushed in, his eyes wide and filled with tears, and tears finally, finally filled my own eyes.
I remember talking about our options.  C-section or vaginal birth?  How long to wait?  I remember looking down at my bulging bump and wondering if I was still considered pregnant when my baby was dead.
I remember calling my mom again on my drive home, then telling her I needed to go because I didn't trust myself to drive.
I remember walking in the door to my house and not knowing what to do.
I remember walking over to my neighbor friend's house.  I remember wanting to say the words out loud.  I remember she wasn't home and so I texted her instead.
I remember calling work to tell them I wouldn't be in.  Not today and not tomorrow.
I remember calling my best friend.  I remember she didn't answer so I texted her, and when she called back, I remember her wailing.  I remember saying calmly, "Sometimes these things happen."
I remember the phone ringing, and staring in disbelief as Ben's new school called me for the first time ever.  I remember thinking they were calling to tell me he was dead, that both my children were dead.  (He wasn't; he was merely constipated).
I remember Justin calling Dr. B, asking how soon I could be induced.
I remember sitting on the floor, with my back leaning against the couch, with Justin sitting next to me.  Staring out the glass door onto our patio, wondering what the hell to do.   I remember waiting for my family to arrive from all over.  I remember wanting them to arrive so I'd know what to do.
I remember my mom and sister walking in sobbing.  I remember the group hug.  I remember breaking down.
I remember my sister helping me pack my hospital bag.  I remember debating taking the camera, debating taking the blanket I had made for my baby.  I remember staring at the pile of baby things I had set aside, in total disbelief that I wouldn't be packing any of it.
I remember asking Justin: Do we still name her Lydia?  I remember thinking that Lydia was our name for our living daughter, not our dead daughter.  I remember we quickly decided this was Lydia.  Our Lydie.
I remember sitting down at my laptop to email close friends and family members.  I remember trying to find the words.  I remember writing that our daughter has no heartbeat and her name is Lydia Joanne.
I remember my phone ringing sporadically through out the day, those close friends and family members calling to offer words of support.  I remember being paralyzed as I watched the screen light up.
I remember a good friend, a mom of a friend, leaving me a teary voicemail explaining that she too had lost a baby.  I remember wondering how I didn't know.
I remember my family eating dinner, staring at them in disbelief that anyone could consume food.  I remember drinking a glass of wine, while staring at my corpse belly.
I remember leaving for the hospital early.
I remember the silence on the drive to the hospital.  I remember Justin hitting the curb as he turned into the hospital.  I remember closing my eyes and hoping it killed us.
I remember checking into the hospital, holding my belly.  I remember seeing the bassinet sitting there and I remember losing my shit at that moment.
I remember my doctor showing up, telling her how I felt the baby move.  I remember her doing another ultrasound to confirm she was dead.  I remember seeing the still heart on the ultrasound.  I remember her telling me the baby's bum was pushing against me in the amniotic fluid.
I remember my doctor telling me it's not my fault.
I remember the nurses checking me in, asking lots of mandatory questions.  I remember being asked: Have you fallen recently?   I remember thinking that's a terrible question to ask to a woman whose baby is dead.  I remember that question didn't help with the guilt.
I remember saying, no I haven't eaten or drank anything.  I remember lying about that glass of wine.
I remember the nurses asking how much I wanted to feel.  I remember having no idea.  I remember both wanting the physical pain and I remember wanting to be knocked completely out. I remember them telling me I could be on morphine because my baby was dead.
I remember being poked with needles, I remember the IV starting pitocin.  I remember the nurses being really kind to me.  I remember Justin climbing up on my bed and watching Netflix together in hopes that we could get our minds somewhere else for an hour.  I remember Justin being worried that the nurses would think less of us that we were watching tv at a time like this.
I remember my mom and Justin sleeping in pull out chairs next to my bed.  I remember the nurse walking in and asking if I wanted an epidural and I remember I didn't want to wake them up.
I remember laboring all night long.
I remember the chaplain coming to see us, the social worker.  I remember them asking if we planned to cremate or bury our daughter.  I remember that I had briefly thought about where my parents might be buried, I had never really thought about where I'd like to be buried, and I had definitely never thought about where my children would be buried.
I remember them asking if I'd like to hold her right away or if I'd like for her to be cleaned up first.  I remember having no idea.
I remember thinking that it's not right to have these conversations when you're in labor.
I remember my sister sitting on her laptop in the corner, shopping on Etsy for prints that said things like "I carried you for every second of your life and I will love you for every second of mine."  I remember thinking she was crazy that she thought that stuff could fix this.
I remember my dad coming to the hospital in the morning.  I remember him standing in the corner, with his hands in his pockets.  I remember how helpless he looked, how helpless I felt.
I remember it was gray and rainy.  I remember how appropriate the weather felt.
I remember asking the nurse to check me, feeling like Lydie might be coming soon.
I remember them asking if I could wait to push, telling me my doctor was on her way.
I remember telling them, she's coming now.
I remember pushing.
I remember screaming that I am a terrible mother.  I remember screaming I'm so sorry as I pushed out my perfect little girl into this world.  I remember 12:14 pm.
I remember the idiot hospital doctor announcing "There's something wrong with her cord."
I remember not caring what the fuck was wrong, I remember just wanting my daughter in my arms.
I remember how I couldn't stop crying as I held her.  How I couldn't stop crying as I examined how perfect she was.  I remember her full hear of dark hair and her big, flipper feet.  I remember her cherry red lips and her peeling skin.   I remember telling her over and over how much I love her and how sorry I am.

When this perfect baby girl's heart was still beating.

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